A life-size diorama playing on the Biblical last supper appeared in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square on Wednesday – with only Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the table.
The work includes a life-size replica of Netanyahu at a long table crammed with lavish food and bottles of champagne and candelabrum. Netanyahu’s statue has his hand in a large cake in the form of the Israeli flag.
“We are one moment before the last supper of democracy. We are at dessert. Do you see?” the artist, Itay Zalait, told reporters as he pointed to the cake.
“The chairs of the government are empty – there is nobody who will represent us,” he added, again motioning at the table at his exhibit.
The work is evocative of the famous “Last Supper” painting by Leonardo Da Vinci, which depicts the Biblical story of Jesus Christ at his last meal before being handed over for crucifixion. However, the artist’s goal was not to create a spin-off, but to create a political statement.
He accused the government of dividing Israeli citizens into factions of left versus right, Arabs versus Jews, religious versus secular and European Jews against North African and Middle Eastern ones.
“We need to take responsibility, to unite and to realise our democratic right to a democratic country and to go out and protest,” he said.
Four years ago, Zalait was responsible for a golden statue of Netanyahu, placed in the same square.
His latest protest statue turned heads after several protesters were wounded at a protest the night before against Public Security Minister Amir Ohana.
Demonstrators told media that a group of far-right extremists infiltrated the protest and attacked protesters.
Demonstrators accuse Ohana of trying to quash the daily protests against Netanyahu, after taped conversations between the former and Jerusalem’s police chief were leaked to the media.
“I wish to challenge the Supreme Court ruling,” Ohana said, referring to a verdict that upheld the protesters’ democratic right to camp outside Netanyahu’s residence as long as they abide by the Health Ministry’s coronavirus restrictions.
“We can’t continue with this anarchy,” Ohana, who is an unabashed Netanyahu loyalist, said in the recording.
Netanyahu is increasingly under pressure due to a combination of the coronavirus crisis and his ongoing corruption trial. (dpa/NAN)